Battle of Antietam

This drawing by Alfred R. Waud depicts the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day of battle in American history, in which 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing on Sept. 17, 1862, according to the National Park Service.

Library of Congress

This State Journal editorial ran on Sept. 28, 1867, two-and-a-half years after the Civil War had ended and six months before President Andrew Johnson was impeached:

At Antietam, Andrew Johnson took care to bestow equal eulogy upon the Union and Rebel “martyrs.” He spoke tenderly of “the dead on both sides,” who “fought for us.”

Perhaps the Confederates who were rallied under the standard of General Robert E. Lee did die in support of those principles, which have in Johnson their most illustrious advocate.

But loyal men are not ready to admit that they “died for us.” We remember their bravery and pity their error. We cannot forget the infamy of the cause to which they committed themselves. Johnson himself is the best guarantee that this shall not pass into oblivion.

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